Indonesia Marks Kartini Day

The Bali Times

People around the country celebrated Kartini Day on Wednesday, in memory of national heroine Raden Ajeng Kartini who during her short life fought for Indonesian women’s rights.

In true Bali style, the annual commemoration got a head start when women took to the surf at Kuta Beach on Sunday wearing traditional kebayas.

Event organiser Piping said the Indonesian female surfers had brought the spirit of female emancipation to surfing by honoring national heroine Kartini, one of the first Indonesian women to seek higher education.

“Surfing was only popular among men. Now, it is different,” she said.

Surfer Deborah Isak, 18, said she was excited to take part in the event despite having trouble surfing in a kebaya.

But critics of Indonesia’s record on women’s rights say there’s a long way to go.

Ida Rowaida, head of the gender studies department at the University of Indonesia, said Indonesia had made progress with the passage of the 2007 Law on Trafficking, the 2004 Law on Domestic Violence and a new law on gender equality now being drafted.

“However, we have not seen the translation of these laws in the field,” she said.

Mariana Amiruddin, of Jurnal Perempuan, a women’s rights magazine, said no significant achievements had yet resulted as many people did not even understand the definition of gender and women’s empowerment.

The 2008 Anti-Pornography Law, recently upheld by the Constitutional Court, the existence of more than 150 discriminative bylaws that still have not been annulled despite repeated calls and the proposed law on marriage were cited as huge setbacks to women’s rights.

Heroine Kartini, born in 1879, died in 1904 aged just 25, soon after giving birth to her only child, the product of an arranged marriage.

Inspired by Kartini’s example, the Van Deventer family established the Kartini Foundation, which built schools for women, “Kartini’s Schools,” in Semarang in 1912, followed by other women’s schools in Surabaya, Yogyakarta, Malang, Madiun, Cirebon and other areas.

President Sukarno declared April 21 Kartini Day in 1964.

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2 Responses to “Indonesia Marks Kartini Day”

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  2. Muslims just suck - Killing a Girl for Getting an Education!!! WTF!!! - Page 3 - US Message Board - Political Discussion Forum Says:

    […] there more Muslims than anywhere else in the world, it's illegal for girls not to go to school and Kartini, the mother of girls' education, is a national heroine with a national holiday in her name. […]

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